In 1939 physicists in the United States learned that Germany was developing nuclear weapons. Eventually, the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development was created in June 1941 and given joint responsibility with the war department in the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb. After four years of intensive research and development efforts, an atomic device was set off on 16th July, 1945, in a desert area in New Mexico. Truman, the new U.S. president, calculated that this monstrous weapon might be used to easily bring the Japanese to their knees. On 6th August, 1945, an atomic bomb carried from Tinian Island in the Marianas in a specially equipped B-29 was dropped on Hiroshima, at the southern end of Honshu. The combined heat and blast pulverized everything in the explosion’s immediate vicinity, generated fires that burned almost 4.4 square miles completely out, and immediately killed some 70,000 people (the death toll passed 100,000 by the end of the year). A second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki on 9th August, killing between 35,000 and 40,000 people, injuring a like number, and devastating 1.8 square miles. Japan surrendered to the Allies on 15th August, six days after the Soviet Union's declaration of war and the bombing of Nagasaki. The Japanese government signed the instrument of surrender on 2nd September in Tokyo Bay, which effectively ended World War II. Therefore, this week, we reflect on the notorious nuclear bombings that destroyed Japan and the repercussions it had on the successive generations.
Highlights of World War II and how the atom bomb came into being
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